Home » Posts tagged 'remnant in Isaiah'

Tag Archives: remnant in Isaiah

Isaiah’s Flip-Flops: Isaiah Journal 2.14

By Christina M Wilson. Previously published at https://justonesmallvoice.com/isaiahs-flip-flops-isaiah-devotional-2-14/.

God’s Problem

God created humankind for his glory.

 Genesis 1:31 And God saw all the things that he had made, and, behold, they were very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.

Then, as everyone knows, God’s enemy Satan attempted to ruin God’s creation. He enticed the people God had created away from their loyalty to God. God punished the world by sending an enormous flood (Genesis 6-9). After this flood, the Old Testament records how God seemingly gave up on the bulk of the world’s people (Genesis 7-11). Rather, he chose to focus upon a small group. They were the progeny of God’s faithful servant and friend, Abraham. They became known as “Israel.” God chose this small group to be his showcase, his special witnesses. They were to demonstrate God’s character of goodness and righteousness to the world.

But that didn’t happen. God had given them a glorious Law. But these people of his kept ignoring, losing, and disobeying it. They left God again and again to worship the gods of the nations. Repeatedly, the Old Testament records how God punished his people by allowing their enemies to trod them underfoot. When they repented, God would bless them. But their loyalty never endured. Continuously, they recommitted the sin of their first parents. Over and over again, they left the God who loved them and followed the idols of the false gods of the nations surrounding them.

God’s problem in a nutshell is that he is faithful, but those he seeks to bless are not.

God’s Problem Expressed in Isaiah

The book of Isaiah is like the weather in Southern California. The climate there never settles down. Heat follows cold and flood follows drought, all in rapid succession. Throughout the entire year, the weather proves itself erratic. The book of Isaiah is like this. Isaiah bounces back and forth between assurances of blessing for Israel and pronouncements of judgment. Isaiah 42:16-44:8 provides a good example of this principle.

Isaiah 42:16 And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not, and I will cause them to tread paths which they have not known: I will turn darkness into light for them, and crooked things into straight. These things will I do, and will not forsake them. 17 But they are turned back: be ye utterly ashamed that trust in graven images, who say to the molten images, Ye are our gods. 18 Hear, ye deaf, and look up, ye blind, to see. 19 And who is blind, but my servants? and deaf, but they that rule over them? yea, the servants of God have been made blind. (Septuagint, Brenton)

First, notice God’s blessing and promise in verse 16 above. Then, see the statement of the problem in verses 17 through 19. Description of the problem and God’s response of judgment against Israel continues through the end of the chapter in verse 25.

Isaiah 42:25 So he brought upon them the fury of his wrath; and the war, and those that burnt round about them, prevailed against them; yet no one of them knew it, neither did they lay it to heart. (Septuagint, Brenton) (See also Isaiah 42:25, ESV or Isaiah 42:25, NET.)

Then, Isaiah 43:1 switches back immediately to God’s assurance of blessing. God’s blessing continues throughout chapter 43 and into chapter 44.

And now thus saith the Lord God that made thee, O Jacob, and formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. (Septuagint, Brenton

God’s Solution 

Part One: Messiah

How can a reader deal with these flip-flops? Is either God himself, or Isaiah, or both schizophrenic? What is God’s intention: blessing or judgment? He seems to insist on both. No, God is not schizophrenic, and everything he says he will do, he will do. The resolution to the seeming contradiction goes all the way back to the very beginning. God has always had a plan. And God’s plan has always been to send people their Savior.

Genesis 3:15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed. He shall bruise your head, and you shall be on guard for His heel. (SAAS) (1)

A Savior will be born into the people of Israel. He will be God’s singular Servant, God’s Son. The Savior/Servant will obey God fully and always. He alone will accomplish God’s purposes of righteousness and loyalty on behalf of all Israel.

EVIDENCE OF THE SAVIOR IN ISAIAH

God’s glory against the backdrop of Israel’s failure (Israel, plural) first appears in Isaiah 4:2-6. Note especially verses 4 and 5.

 Isaiah 4:2 And in that day God shall shine gloriously in counsel on the earth, to exalt and glorify the remnant of Israel. 3 And it shall be, that the remnant left in Sion, and the remnant left in Jerusalem, even all that are appointed to life in Jerusalem, shall be called holy. 4 For the Lord shall wash away the filth of the sons and daughters of Sion, and shall purge out the blood from the midst of them, with the spirit of judgment, and the spirit of burning. 5 And he shall come, and it shall be with regard to every place of mount Sion, yea, all the region round about it shall a cloud overshadow by day, and there shall be as it were the smoke and light of fire burning by night: and upon all the glory shall be a defence. 6 And it shall be for a shadow from the heat, and as a shelter and a hiding-place from inclemency of weather and from rain. (Septuagint, Brenton

Without the New Testament, these verses would remain unfulfilled. But Christ has completely fulfilled this promise. Thank God for the light the New Testament sheds.

First, the Lord washed away the filth of not only the sons and daughters of Sion but of the whole world on the cross. Second, Christ continues that work by means of his Holy Spirit. Third, the Holy Spirit is also the Comforter (or, Helper), who defends and shelters God’s new Israel, the church, from adversity and from enemies.

Matthew 3:11 “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.” (ESV)

Notice the similarities between the images Matthew uses and those of Isaiah 4:4, quoted above. The Apostle John speaks more of the Holy Spirit, see below, much as Isaiah does in Isaiah 42:5-6, quoted earlier.

John 16:7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. (ESV)

Isaiah’s verses find fulfillment in the activities of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. (ESV)

Readers can find further references to the Savior in Isaiah, up to this point, in Isaiah 9:1-6; 11:1-16; 12:1-6; 22:20-24; 32:1-4, 15-20; 40:1-11; and 42:1-16. This list may not be exhaustive.

Part Two: A Remnant

All Scripture is clear that only a remnant will be saved. Noah’s boat provides the first example. It carried only eight people to safety (Genesis 7:13). Israel itself is but a remnant of the entire human race. Further, Isaiah makes clear that only a remnant of Israel will be saved.

Isaiah 10:20 And its hall come to pas sin that day that the remnant of Israel shall no more join themselves with, and the saved of Jacob shall no more trust in, them that injured them; but they shall trust in the Holy God of Israel, in truth. 21 And the remnant of Jacob shall trust on the mighty God. 22And though the people of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant of them shall be saved. (Septuagint, Brenton)

Isaiah 4:3 And it shall be, that the remnant left in Sion, and the remnant left in Jerusalem, even all that are appointed to life in Jerusalem, shall be called holy. 4 For the Lord shall wash away the filth of the sons and daughters of Sion, and shall purge out the blood from the midst of them, with the spirit of judgment, and the spirit of burning. (Septuagint, Brenton) [See also Isaiah 28:5; 37:31-32; and 46:3-4. There may be other references.]

The Apostle Paul, an Israelite among Israelites (Romans 11:1 and Philippians 3:4-5), picked up and expounded Isaiah’s theme of a remnant from Israel. To this remnant are added as many Gentiles as choose to come.

Romans 9:27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the and of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” 29 And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.” (ESV) [And see all of Romans 9.)

Romans 11:4 But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. (ESV) [See the complete context in Romans 11.]

Jesus himself spoke of a small proportion that would be saved.

Matthew 7:14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (ESV)

Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.” (ESV)

Luke 13:22 He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23 And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. 25 When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ 26 Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ 27 But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ 28 In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. (ESV)

THE MAIN POINT OF A REMNANT

I don’t believe God’s purpose in specifying a remnant is to limit the number of people who finally enter the gates of his kingdom. (Neither should we.) Other places in Scripture claim that number will be as many as the sand in the sea and the stars in the sky (Revelation 7:9 is one such place). Rather, God seeks to emphasize that only those who believe, repent, and faithfully (continuously until the end) trust in and follow God as Lord, Savior, and King will be saved. Because God makes a promise to save Israel does not mean that he will save the arrogant, the hard of heart, or those unrepentantly disobedient to his will. That has never been God’s purpose. By means of the cross of his holy Servant, Jesus Christ, God gives everyone–Israelite and Gentile alike–opportunity to repent, be saved, and find their rest in him.

__________

1 SAAS: “Scripture taken from the St. Athanasius Academy SeptuagintTM. Copyright © 2008 by St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

Blessing Returns: Isaiah Journal 63

By Christina M Wilson. Posted simultaneously at Blessing Returns: Isaiah Devotional Journal 63 – justonesmallvoice.com.

Isaiah 29    Septuagint Modernized   NETS

(Chapter 29 Part 2. LINK to Part 1)

Divisions of Chapter 29

  1. Verses 1-4 are against Ariel, which is Jerusalem
  2. Verses 5-8 are against Ariel’s enemies
  3. Verses 9-16 judge the people of Jerusalem, especially its leaders
  4. Verses 17-24 concern a new season for Abraham and Jacob’s family

Blessing upon Abraham and Jacob’s Progeny

Verse 17 introduces one of Isaiah’s many reversals, or switchbacks. In the preceding verses, God through the prophet condemned the people of Jerusalem and their rulers. He promised to remove them, as a potter would his clay. But in verse 17 through the end of the chapter, he blesses his people. But are these the same people he condemns immediately before this section begins?

When and What?

First, the phrase “a little while” in verse 17 would indicate a future that is not the end, end times, as in the very end of time which ushers in a new heaven and a new earth. The age of Messiah’s incarnation therefore might be the “little while” Isaiah holds in view.

Next, the metaphor of verse 17 is widely accepted to indicate a reversal of fortune. According to NET Bible’s study notes, “The meaning of this verse is debated, but it seems to depict a reversal in fortunes. The mighty forest of Lebanon (symbolic of the proud and powerful, see 2:13; 10:34) will be changed into a common orchard, while the common orchard (symbolic of the oppressed and lowly) will grow into a great forest.” This interpretation matches the Septuagint of verse 14, which speaks of God’s “removal” of the leaders and people of Israel who opposed him (See Journal 62).

More Reversals

Verse 17 introduces the first of a series of reversals. What are these?

  • the deaf shall hear (v 18)
  • the blind shall see (v 18)
  • the poor (meek) shall rejoice (v 19)
  • the hopeless (poor) shall be filled with gladness (v 19)
  • the lawless man has come to an end (v 20)
  • the arrogant man has perished (v 20)
  • the malicious are utterly destroyed (v 20)
  • those who give false witness will be gone (v 21)
  • these are they who “entrap the one who arbitrates at the city gate” (NET) [devious lawyers] (v 21)
  • these are they who “deprive the innocent of justice by making false charges” (NET) (v 21)

Verses 18 and 19 bear a striking resemblance to Jesus Christ’s statement in Matthew 11:5.

the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. (Matthew 11:5 ESV)

Also, it’s as though Jesus took portions of his Sermon on the Mount straight from the book of Isaiah.

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matthew 5:3-6 ESV)

The Reversals Reveal Two Groups

Isaiah in the verses from 18-21 divides his subjects into two groups. The first group begins low and rises high. The second group begins high and sinks low. Who are those receiving the blessings in verses 18-19? They are the deaf, the blind, the meek, the poor in spirit, and those wronged by the law and the court system. Who are those to be condemned and destroyed in verses 20-21? They are the lawless, the arrogant, the malicious, and the liars who harm their neighbors. These people sound remarkably like the teachers and leaders of Jerusalem whom Isaiah described in Isaiah 29:1-4 and 13-16.

Zooming In on the Who?

Where do the poor people come from, those whom Isaiah prophesies God will bless in “a little while”? There seem to be two plausible choices.

ONE, they could be the progeny of the people and religious leaders whom Isaiah prophesied against in verses 1-4 and 13-16. Perhaps they will repent and have a great change of heart. They may recognize their blindness and deafness and poverty of spirit and turn to the Lord. The Apostle Paul says this is possible.

Romans 11:23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. (ESV)

TWO, they could be the progeny of those few who always hoped in the God of Israel. Or, perhaps they are a small group who repent and turn back to the Lord. In either case, they are those whom Isaiah calls the remnant (Isaiah 28:5; 10:20-22). They are the blind, the deaf, the poor, the hopeless, and the victims of legal injustice. This remnant resembles the crowds who believed in Jesus, and after his resurrection continued to believe in God and his Son. Paul speaks of this remnant in Romans 9-11.

Significance of Abraham

Isaiah 29:22 in the Septuagint (NETS, SAAS) names three names: Abraham, house of Jacob, Jacob himself, and Israel. The Masoretic (Hebrew) uses the names Abraham, house of Jacob, and Jacob. The naming of “Abraham” is new in Isaiah. This is his first appearance. The name Jacob, on the other hand, occurs frequently. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel in Genesis 32:28. “Jacob” and “Israel” are most likely synonymous in this verse.

Why does Isaiah use the name Abraham in reference to the group of people whose lowly state will be so radically changed to blessing? There are only three other uses of Abraham in all of Isaiah: Isaiah 41:8; 51:2; and 63:16. Is Isaiah’s use of this name in chapter 29 significant?

Here is what we know about Abraham.

  1. God justified Abraham because of  his faith (Romans 4:3, 9, 12, 13, 16; Galatians 3:6).
  2. Those who are of faith are the sons [children] of Abraham (Galatians 3:7, 9).
  3. Abraham predates the establishment of national Israel by many generations.

One reasonably wonders if Isaiah purposefully chose the name Abraham in order to emphasize these distinguishing characteristics.

HOW WILL ABRAHAM’S CHILDREN RESPOND?

Isaiah continues.

Isaiah 29:23 But when their children shall have seen my works, they shall sanctify my name for my sake, and they sanctify the Holy One of Jacob, and shall fear the God of Israel. (LXE)

The religious leaders of Jesus’s day saw all his works. They witnessed paralytics walking, the blind seeing, the deaf hearing, lepers cleansed, and even the dead raised (John 11). Did they sanctify God’s name? No, they crucified Messiah, God’s Son. But many did see and sanctify the Holy One of Jacob. They were the poor, the sinners, and the outcasts whom Jesus blessed, just as Isaiah prophesied.

VERSE 24

Isaiah 29:24 indicates that some will be given a new heart. The chapter closes with this final blessing of reversal. “And they that erred in spirit shall know understanding, and the murmurers shall learn obedience, and the stammering tongues shall learn to speak peace.” These people with changed hearts would be the same ones of whom Isaiah speaks in verses 22 and 23.

Conclusion: Interpretation of Isaiah

Isaiah and the gospel narratives are interrelated. Isaiah points forward to the Gospel, and the gospels themselves look back upon Isaiah. In the four gospels the enmity between Christ and the religious leaders of his day is apparent (witness the crucifixion). Yet Jesus preached for the most part to his own people, the Jewish nation (Matthew 10:5-6; 15:25). Those who believed, beginning with the eleven disciples, were Jewish. These preached to other Jewish people, who also believed. Eventually, the Apostle Paul preached the gospel to Gentiles. These believed in far greater numbers than the people of Israel. Paul addresses this situation in Romans 9-11. National Israel to this day has not believed in Messiah Jesus Christ. However, many individuals of ethnic Israel have believed throughout the ages: a group within a group.

Paul in Romans specifically speaks to Gentiles and Jewish believers who may be thinking that the word of God–that is, his Old Testament promises to the nation of Israel through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob–had failed (Romans 9:1-6a). Verse 6a reads, “But it is not as though the word of God has failed.” Immediately, he states, “For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel” (Romans 9:6b). He develops this theme in chapters 9, 10, and 11. Who are the ones whom Paul claims “belong to Israel”? They are those who believe in Christ, whether Jew or Gentile.

Paul and Isaiah both teach that Messiah is from God. God is for Israel. God sent Messiah, his Son, to redeem Israel. The children of those who were faithful to God in the Old Testament (very few, says Isaiah), will continue to be faithful to him when he sends Messiah. Or, if not consistently faithful, then repentant. Messiah is Christ. The Gospel of Christ flows in a smooth stream from the Old Testament to the New Testament. Isaiah speaks of Christ. Christ is the “foundation,” the “precious cornerstone” upon which the church is built (Isaiah 28:16).

Isaiah in the Old Testament prophesied of Messiah and those who receive him. Then, in the New Testament, Messiah comes. This is all very Jewish. Messiah, Christ Jesus, is Jewish. The problem arose with the actual identity of the God-man. The Jewish religious leaders of Jesus’s day rejected Jesus of Nazareth as Messiah. They did not reject the Scriptures, such as Isaiah, which prophesied that Messiah would come (John 5:39-40, 45-47).

The “remnant” includes the faithful Israelites of the Old Testament (those like Isaiah) and the faithful Israelites of the New Testament (those like the eleven disciples, Elizabeth, Mary, Paul, and all the rest.) This is the best way to understand the jerky flip-flops that Isaiah makes. He alternates between the faithful and the unfaithful, the obedient and the disobedient, the repentant and those who refuse to repent. These are two groups. 

Is this “replacement theology”? Does Paul use Isaiah’s “remnant” to replace Israel in the New Testament? Yes and no. Yes, in the sense that faithful Israel replaces national Israel. Faith is an issue of heart, not of national boundaries. And no, Paul does not “replace” Israel. Paul claims that the people of Israel are natural branches in God’s olive tree (Romans 11:16-21). The unfaithful branches were broken off. The Gentiles are the ones who have been grafted in. When ethnic Israel lines up once more with God’s purpose in Messiah, says Paul, they can be grafted in again (Romans 11:20, 23). But God’s olive tree consists of faithful people, not political nations. “My kingdom is not of this world,” says Christ (John 18:36).

Who is Jesus of Nazareth, if not a Jew? (Matthew 1:1-17; Luke 3:23-38; John 1:11). The church does not “replace” Israel. Rather, the church is what faithful Israel becomes. The church equals faithful Israel and those Gentiles whom God grafts in. This is what Isaiah consistently teaches all along. I personally think of the church as the butterfly that emerges from Old Testament Israel’s cocoon, no irreverence intended.

Once the reader understands Isaiah’s method of switching back and forth between Israel’s two essential groups–those faithful to God the King, and those unfaithful to him–she can see that God is consistent to himself. He is not a God who changes his mind (Numbers 23:19; Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 7:21).

I join with Paul in his prayers for his kinsmen, those of Paul’s race, ethnic Israelites. I pray that they awaken from their deep sleep, that the blind will see, that the deaf will hear and understand, that “those who erred in spirit shall know understanding, and those who complained will learn to obey” (Isaiah 29:24 SAAS).

And many blessings, dear readers, upon us all. May God’s purpose in Christ be fulfilled.

A Plea to Listen: Isaiah Journal 61

By Christina M Wilson. Published simultaneously at A Plea to Listen: Isaiah Devotional Journal 61 – justonesmallvoice.com.

Isaiah 28-29    Septuagint Modernized   NETS

In this section, Isaiah pleads with three groups of people to listen to God’s instruction. Two groups scoff, and one group hears.

Three Groups and a Savior

Chapter 28 presents all three of the people groups Isaiah frequently mentions and God’s own Chosen One.

  1. Israel, the northern kingdom (Ephraim, Samaria)–Isaiah 28:1-4 and 7-13
  2. Jerusalem, representing the southern kingdom–Isaiah 28:14-21
  3. The Remnant–Isaiah 28:5-616
  4. The Savior appears in Isaiah 28:516.

Complaint Against the Northern Kingdom

Group 1 (Israel): The prophet Isaiah pronounces woe upon Ephraim. Pride and drunkenness characterize their sin. God had given them a rich and productive land in Canaan, which their greed caused them to exploit, as though they were merely hired servants, rather than owners. After the enemy sweeps through like a violent storm, then the land will rest (Isaiah 28:2, LXE).

Group 3 (the Remnant): When the enemy washes away the false pride of Israel, God will leave behind a remnant of his people Isaiah 28:5). These will steward the land with just judgments and strong encouragement in the Lord (Isaiah 28:6).

The Savior (4 above): In a latter day statement, Isaiah prophesies that the Lord of hosts will himself replace Israel. “In that day, the Lord of hosts shall be the crown of hope, woven of glory, to the remnant of My people” (SAAS) (1). In the words of a popular preacher, the Lord never takes something away without putting something better in its place. God will remove the northern kingdom, which failed him, and replace the nation with himself (Messiah, the Son).

Group 1 (Israel): Verses 7-8 confirms with further detail the judgment against the nation’s leaders, given in verses 1-4.

Israel Rejects God’s Instruction

God attempted to teach his errant people. He did so simply, as to young children just weaned from milk. He gave them, “precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little,” (Isaiah 28:10 and see v. 13, ESV). But Israel neither listened nor learned. Even when the foreign invader would arrive, they still refused to listen.

The Southern Kingdom

Group 2: In Isaiah 28:14-5, the prophet turns his attention to the southern kingdom (Jerusalem). They did no better, perhaps worse, than the northern kingdom. In what appears to be a metaphor, Isaiah charges that they boldly asserted they had made a contract with death. These people, having been blessed by God, turned against God and bartered with his spiritual enemy, death. They think that evil deception will protect them from the punishment God will send.

The Savior

In one of the most quoted verses of Scripture, God declares–

therefore thus says the Lord, See, I will lay for the foundations of Sion a precious, choice stone, a highly valued cornerstone for its foundations, and the one who believes in him will not be put to shame (Isaiah 28:16 NETS) (1 Peter 2:6-8Romans 9:33 and Isaiah 8:14).

The Remnant

The careful reader can perceive Isaiah’s weaving together of God’s pattern. First, God called Israel as a people–Abraham and his seed. The people, under Joshua, became a nation. The nation divided into two nations after King Solomon. Both of these nations failed to remain loyal to God their king. But–however–in spite of that–God always preserved a remnant people who remained loyal to his ways. This remnant includes “whoever believes in him” and “will not be put to shame.”

God’s Warning and Instruction

God warned the nation. Isaiah 28:17-19 explains how his judgmental discipline and mercy would benefit the nation if they were to heed it. “Learn to listen, you in difficult straits, (SAAS) (1)” he pleads in Septuagint verses 19-20.

The remainder of the chapter cautions the southern nation not to mock and make sport of God’s words through the prophet. Isaiah patiently uses agriculture to describe God’s teaching method. God is not an overly harsh teacher. He proceeds step by step, everything in its order and season. As though he were a farmer, he knows how to teach all different kinds of people. He varies his instruction depending upon his purpose and the nature of the one he handles. The chapter closes by stating, “This also comes from the LORD of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel and excellent in wisdom” (Isaiah 28:29 ESV).

But Do They Listen?

Chapter 29 will answer this question.

To Be Continued…

__________

1 SAAS. "Scripture taken from the St. Athanasius Academy SeptuagintTM. Copyright © 2008 by St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

Switchback–Blessing Disappears: Isaiah Journal 60

By Christina M Wilson. Posted simultaneously at Switchback-Blessing Disappears: Isaiah Devotional Journal 60 – justonesmallvoice.com

Isaiah 28-29    Septuagint Modernized   NETS

Blessing Suddenly Disappears

As the reader continues in Isaiah, a pattern appears. Isaiah fills his writing with “switchbacks.” A switchback is when a pathway turns back upon itself and leads in an opposite direction. In Chapter 28, Isaiah abandons the blessing upon Israel of Chapter 27 and heads back in the direction of judgment and doom. That is, until…he switches back again. (See Switchbacks in Isaiah.)

Secondly, Chapter 27 contained strong suggestions of an end times synopsis. Isaiah 27:12-13 seemed to be writing of an ingathering that included all Israel. But here, Isaiah treats the northern kingdom and the southern kingdom separately. This is noteworthy, because Isaiah has not specifically mentioned Northern Israel (Ephraim in Isaiah 28:1) since Isaiah 17:3. Both kingdoms, as distinct from each other, have not been mentioned since Isaiah 11:13. But here, the prophet singles out Ephraim in Chapter 28 and Ariel (Jerusalem, the City of David) in Chapters 28 and 29.

Unravelling the Mystery

The fact is that Isaiah presents God as judging and condemning Israel one moment and blessing her the next. What is a reader to make of these constant flip flops?

Possibilities

  1. God is schizophrenic.
  2. God is a “parent” who cannot make up his mind. His hand of discipline is not to be believed. When he disciplines, he will surely change his mind and turn the judgment into blessing. Therefore, his discipline need not be taken seriously.
  3. God can rightfully discipline his child, Israel, and he does. However, the disciplinary judgment will not be the last word, because long ago, God promised Abraham that he would bless his seed. God cannot go back on his word of promise. Therefore, the final state must be blessing. Again, Isaiah’s pronouncements of severe judgment need not be taken too seriously.
  4. Isaiah addresses several different groups of people. These groups do not overlap. In this scenario, judgment is judgment and will not be rescinded. The blessing is blessing that fulfills God’s promises, but not everyone will be blessed. It is wise to pay attention and believe the words of judgment Isaiah speaks.
  5. My point of view is the latter, number four above.

What Groups Does Isaiah Address?

  1. Ephraim (northern Israel), mostly disobedient to God.
  2. Judah (southern Israel), mostly disobedient to God.
  3. A remnant from all Israel (northern and southern), repentant and mostly obedient to God.

This grouping solves the question of why the constant switching back and forth. No, God is not schizophrenic. Yes, God knows his own mind and is thoroughly consistent. Yes, God’s word is God’s word. When he speaks judgment, he means judgment and will carry it out. When he speaks blessing, he means blessing and will carry it out. God will fulfill his promise to Abraham, but most of Israel will not receive it. A repentant, contrite, obedient, faithful remnant will receive the full blessing of God.

Note that in Isaiah’s day, there were not three concrete, political groups. That is, only a northern kingdom and a southern kingdom were visible. There did not exist a political boundary for a geographical area called “Remnant.” The Old Testament remnant, a remnant people, remained hidden and scattered throughout both kingdoms. That is, there were always a few people interspersed among the nation who remained faithful to God, his word, and his law. It is fascinating to watch as God protects this remnant throughout Israel’s history.

The Manner of Blessing

Finally, the prophet makes clear that the manner of God’s blessing the remnant of his people will be through a Man of his own choosing (Isaiah 28:16).

Isaiah 28:16 therefore thus says the Lord, See, I will lay for the foundations of Sion a precious, choice stone, a highly valued cornerstone for its foundations, and the one who believes in him will not be put to shame. (NETS) (See 1 Peter 2:6)

Therefore, the focus is not on the remnant, nor so much upon God’s promise, but upon the Stone, the precious stone, the costly foundation. The focus is also upon belief in him. With this Stone for a foundation, God himself accomplishes what he intended to do. Isaiah grants no blessing to rebellious Israel.

Next Time: Examples of Isaiah’s groups in Chapters 28 and 29.

MESSIAH AND HIS KINGDOM 3: ISAIAH DEVOTIONAL JOURNAL 31

Isaiah 11:1-12:6   Link to LXE

continued from Journal 30

The Remnant

A believing remnant whom God will spare from his devastating judgment has been a theme from the beginning of Isaiah. Eleven times Isaiah speaks of a remnant of Israel in chapters 1 through 12. Six of these references occur in chapters 10 and 11. The time frame of chapters 10 and 11 take the reader to the advent of Christ and at least as far as the present. Nowhere in the first twelve chapters does Isaiah ever say that all Israel will be saved. While I do believe that other portions of Scripture indicate this, it is not here, not now.

Isaiah 10:22 And though the people of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant of them shall be saved. 23 He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because the Lord will make a short work in all the world. (LXE)

Paul uses the above passage and others to explain how it is that Gentiles receive the Gospel and salvation. Simultaneously, for the most part, the bulk of Israel rejects that same gospel.

Romans 9:27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved, 28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.” 29 And as Isaiah predicted, “If the Lord of hosts had not left us offspring, we would have been like Sodom and become like Gomorrah.” (ESV)

God Remembers His Remnant

God does not forget his remnant of Israel. Chapter 11 picks up the theme begun in chapter 10. Isaiah weaves together the salvation promised the remnant with the salvation promised the Gentiles. Notice how he does this in the following verses.

Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall arise to rule over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust, and his rest shall be glorious. 11 And it shall be in that day, that the Lord shall again shew his hand, to be zealous for the remnant that is left of the people, which shall be left by the Assyrians, and that from Egypt, and from the country of Babylon, and from Ethiopia, and from the Elamites, and from the rising of the sun, and out of Arabia. 12 And he shall lift up a standard for the nations, and he shall gather the lost ones of Israel, and he shall gather the dispersed of Juda from the four corners of the earth. 13 … 16 And there shall be a passage for my people that is left [verb form of “remnant”] in Egypt: and it shall be to Israel as the day when he came forth out of the land of Egypt. (Isa 11:10 LXE)

The Remnant and the Gentiles

Jesus, Messiah, the root of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1 and 11:10), became the chief cornerstone of the Christian church. “In that day,”–the day of Messiah–the church included both the remnant of Israel and Gentiles. In addition to the verses already mentioned in Isaiah 11Isaiah 12:4 makes this abundantly clear.

Isaiah 11:16 closes with mention of “the remnant of My people” (SAAS) (1). The very next verse, Isaiah 12:1, opens with the word, “And…” Grammatically, this “and” is a strong conjunction, και (kay). This word “and” connects the two paragraphs, which speak of the same topic. Therefore, when God addresses the people as “you” in chapter 12, he speaks to the same remnant, who is now worshipping him. God states the following.

Isaiah 12:1 And in that day thou shalt say, I will bless thee, O Lord… (LXE)

The conversation continues unbroken, as God speaks further to the same group of people, his remnant.

Isaiah 12:4 And in that day thou shalt say, sing to the Lord, call aloud upon his name, proclaim his glorious deeds among the Gentiles; make mention that his name is exalted. (LXE)

For proper understanding of the book of Isaiah, it is important to note that Isaiah includes both a Jewish remnant and Gentiles who turn to God in the day of Messiah. The New Testament, especially the book of Acts and the writings of Paul, bear ample witness to the fulfillment of these prophecies spoken more than 600 years earlier by the prophet Isaiah.

__________

1 “Scripture taken from the St. Athanasius Academy SeptuagintTM. Copyright © 2008 by St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

 

TWO KINGDOMS OF ISRAEL AND ADVENT OF THE SON: ISAIAH DEVOTIONAL JOURNAL 28

By BylineChristina Wilson on 

Isaiah 9:1-10:34   Link to LXE

Flashback

The book of Isaiah opens with God’s displeasure upon the two kingdoms of Israel, the southern kingdom of Judah and the northern kingdom of Israel. In Isaiah’s own lifetime, God will judge Israel and remove the people from his land, much as he judged the entire world by means of Noah’s flood. But just as God spared Noah, so he will spare a remnant who repent and trust in him (Isaiah 1:9).

But this cycle of disobedience, judgment, new beginning, followed by disobedience, judgment, and so on might continue forever. Fallen humankind is not able to consistently govern well. Israel’s history proves this. God has a plan, however. He announces the advent of a Child, an amazing Son.

6 … and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

Who Is This Son?

So far, Isaiah has given glimpses.

Isaiah 2:4 And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plow-shares, and their spears into sickles: and nation shall not take up sword against nation, neither shall they learn to war any more. (Excerpted from Isaiah 2:2-4 LXE)

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold, a virgin shall conceive in the womb, and shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Emmanuel. (LXE)

But the view from chapter 9 is amazing. The Son is light and joy. God favors him so much that he decrees a government ruled by him that will last forever. He will be born from David’s line and in the land of the northern kingdom.

Messiah Is Isaiah’s Main Theme

Isaiah 9:1-7 brings Messiah to the forefront. He is everything God wants, and his theme is peace.

Isaiah 9:1 and he that is in anguish shall not be distressed only for a time. Drink this first. Act quickly, O land of Zabulon, land of Nephthalim, and the rest inhabiting the sea-coast, and the land beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.
2 O people walking in darkness, behold a great light: ye that dwell in the region and shadow of death, a light shall shine upon you.
3 The multitude of the people which thou hast brought down in thy joy, they shall even rejoice before thee as they that rejoice in harvest, and as they that divide the spoil.
4 Because the yoke that was laid upon them has been taken away, and the rod that was on their neck: for he has broken the rod of the exactors, as in the day of Madiam.
5 For they shall compensate for every garment that has been acquired by deceit, and all raiment with restitution; and they shall be willing, even if they were burnt with fire.
6 For a child is born to us, and a son is given to us, whose government is upon his shoulder: and his name is called the Messenger of great counsel: for I will bring peace upon the princes, and health to him.
7 His government shall be great, and of his peace there is no end: it shall be upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to support it with judgement and with righteousness, from henceforth and forever. The seal of the Lord of hosts shall perform this.
(LXE)

How blessed the northern kingdom will be in that day!

Notes:

1. The Orthodox Study Bible writes for Isaiah 9:4, “The day of Midian refers to the defeat of the Midianites by Gideon and his men without the use weapons (see Jdg 7:9-25). These men prefigure the apostles, who spread the gospel throughout the world with only ‘the weapons of peace,’ the preaching of the Cross.” (1)

2. Isaiah 9:5 in the Septuagint (see above) reads very differently than the Masoretic text. Luke 19:8, about the salvation of Zacchaeus, fulfills the Septuagint.

3. The initial view of Messiah is through the eyes of his people and the effect he has upon them, Isaiah 9:1-5.

But First, the Judgment Against Israel

But before all this can take place, Israel (the northern kingdom) must be judged and the people removed (Isaiah 9:8-10:4). This section opens with the statement–

The Lord sent death against Jacob, and it came on Israel. (SAAS) (2)

The remainder of chapter 9 and the first four verses of chapter 10 describe the manner of this death.

Verses of Note

1. Extreme hardness of heart: Isaiah 9:(12)13 “But the people did not turn until they were struck, yet they did not seek the Lord” (SAAS). Revelation 9:20-21 is reminiscent of this, “The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent…”

2. Deception in the guise of blessing: Isaiah 9:(15)16 “For those who bless this people lead them astray, and they lead them astray so as to destroy them.” (SAAS)

3. Brother against brother: Isaiah 9:(19b-20a)20b-21a “Manasseh shall devour Ephraim and Ephraim Manasseh. Together they shall besiege Judah…” (SAAS)

4. Laws written by design against the poor and needy: Isaiah 10:1-2 “Woe to those who write evil things, for when they write such things, they turn aside judgment from the poor, and rob judgment from the needy of the people, that the widow may be their prey and the orphan a spoil.” (SAAS)

5. God’s anger continues: Isaiah 9:(11, 16, 20 and Isaiah 10:4)12, 17, 21 and 10:4 “For all this His anger is not turned away, but His hand is still uplifted.” (SAAS)

Judgment Against Assyria

God used the armies of Assyria to execute his condemnation upon Israel (chapter 9). Assyria, however, did not recognize that God gave them the power to conquer Israel and take her captive. Attributing their success to their own prowess (Isaiah 10:7-14) rather than to God’s permissive will, they determined to attack the southern kingdom of Jerusalem, as well (Isaiah 10:5-14). But God had other plans.

Isaiah 10:12 But it shall come to pass, when the Lord has completed all He will do on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, He will go against the arrogant heart of the king of the Assyrians and the glory of his haughty looks. (SAAS)

The prophet Habakkuk, less than one century after the close of Isaiah, prophesied similarly concerning the nation of Chaldea, or Babylon. In the three chapters of Habakkuk, the prophet and God dialogue with each other. (This is called prayer). God explains in Habakkuk 1-3, the same as in Isaiah 10, how he uses a powerful but wicked nation to punish and cleanse his own people. Afterward, God also punishes the “punisher” for their wicked excesses in carrying out His plan. In short, God rules history and all nations. Nations are but tools in his hand.

Isaiah 10:15 Shall the ax glorify itself without him who chops with it? Or shall the saw exalt itself without him who saws with it? It is likewise if one should lift a rod or a piece of wood. (SAAS)

How Does the Remainder of Isaiah 10 Unfold?

  • Isaiah 10:16-19 compares God to a light that burns like fire. The cleansing fire will consume the fleeing Assyrians, until there are none of them left but a small enough number a child could count. 2Kings 19 records in great detail the fall of Assyria in Judah. Note: The study note for Isaiah 10:17 in The Orthodox Study Bible (1) states, “The Light of Israel (v. 17) that will sanctify God’s people speaks poetically of the Holy Spirit.” That is, if the Assyrians poetically represent sin in the land, then the Light of Israel, the Holy Spirit, is what cleanses the believing church and individual from sin.
  • Isaiah speaks of the remnant of Israel in Isaiah 10:20-22. Those who have ever been “wronged” know what a blessing of comfort these words are. So many victims of abuse are dependent upon their abusers. But a day will come when they will only trust in God, their Savior.

20 It shall come to pass in that day that the remnant of Israel and those of Jacob who were saved will never again obey those who wronged them; but they will trust in God, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. 21 The remnant of Jacob shall trust in the Mighty God. 22 For though the people of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant of them shall be saved… (SAAS)

  • Verses Isaiah 10:22b-23 speak of how God’s righteous judgment will be accomplished quickly, and in all the world. This is exactly how the cross of Christ played out. In the timeline of all history, the judgment upon evil and the righteousness of salvation happened in a single day, overnight, as it were. Here, of course, the literal meaning applies to how the Assyrian army left Judah extremely quickly (2Kings 19:32-36).

22b … for He shall accomplish the word and cut it short in righteousness. 23 For God will accomplish the word and cut it short in all the world. (SAAS)

  • Isaiah 10:24-31 continues to describe the details of Assyria’s downfall and the cities through which they pass.
  • In the final verses of Isaiah 1032-24, God continues to instruct Isaiah concerning how he should comfort Judah at this point in their history. Their time has not yet come. First, “the Master, the Lord of hosts” will bring down the haughty and lofty Assyrians.
  • Chapter 11 returns again to Messiah.
to be continued…

__________

1 Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology, Elk Grove, California. The Orthodox Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008.

2 For this and all other quotations marked SAAS: “Scripture taken from the St. Athanasius Academy SeptuagintTM. Copyright © 2008 by St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

Isaiah: A Personal Devotional Journal–8

One of my favorite biblical phrases from a years’ old memory is, “clear shining after rain.” It’s found in 2 Samuel 23:4, in David’s last words. It’s phrased like that in the King James and New King James:

2 Samuel 23:4 And he shall be like the light of the morning when the sun rises, A morning without clouds, Like the tender grass springing out of the earth, By clear shining after rain.’ (NKJ)

I believe this to be a prophecy of the King, the Lord, as Ruler of humankind. The feeling and images aroused by these words–the joy–are what springs to my heart as I continue in Isaiah 4:2-6. These five verses provide such a sharp contrast to the chapters preceding them, that they are like “clear shining after rain.” The entire passage from Brenton’s Septuagint reads:

Isaiah 4:2 And in that day God shall shine gloriously in counsel on the earth, to exalt and glorify the remnant of Israel.
3 And it shall be, that the remnant left in Sion, and the remnant left in Jerusalem, even all that are <1> appointed to life in Jerusalem, shall be called holy.
4 For the Lord shall wash away the filth of the sons and daughters of Sion, and shall purge out the blood from the midst of them, with the spirit of judgement, and the spirit of burning.
5 And he shall come, and it shall be with regard to every place of mount Sion, yea, all the region round about it shall a cloud overshadow by day, and there shall be as it were the smoke and light of fire burning by night: and upon all the glory shall be a defence.
6 And it shall be for a shadow from the heat, and as a shelter and a hiding place from inclemency of weather and from rain. (LXE)

{1) Gr. written for life}

Every verse in this portion connects with other portions of Scripture, many in the New Testament.

But first, whom is Isaiah addressing in this portion? Verses 3:16-4:1 appear to have been spoken in their entirety by the Lord, since they flow unbroken from verse 16, which says, “Thus saith the Lord,…” (LXE, Seputagint, Brenton). That section is all judgment against “the daughters of Sion.” (For an analysis of who these daughters may be, see Journal 7.)

In great contrast to the prior section, Isaiah 4:2-6 is a segment of restoration, not judgment. According to the Septuagint, it is addressed to (that is, written about), the remnant. This word occurs three times in two verses (that’s lots! See the text above.) For a word analysis of the “remnant”, see Journal  2 and Journal 3. In the ESV and NET, the word remnant does not appear. In verse 4:2, the ESV uses the word “survivors,” and in verse 3, the phrases, “he who is left,” and “remains.” The NET writes, “those who remain,” in verse 2, and “those remaining,” and “those left,” in verse 3. These words, “survivors,” “remains” and “left,” are lexical synonyms provided by Thayer (for all three phrases) and BDAG (for the latter two phrases). The Greek words themselves are καταλειφθὲν and ὑπολειφθὲν. (1)

No matter which version one uses, the text is clear that Isaiah here refers to a different group of people than the previous text. Verse 4 declares that the Lord will “wash away the filth” and “purge out the blood from the midst of them” with “the spirit of judgment, and the spirit of burning.” That is to say, the people described in Isaiah 2 and 3 have been washed away and purged out. These verses talk about the “survivors,” the “remnant,” those who are “left,” and those who “remain,” after the purging has been completed. These verses are not a prophecy of what shall happen to the unrepentant sinners, those whom Isaiah says never repent, those who choose to cling to their ways, those who never turn back to the Lord with an admission of their wrongdoing. Those people will be removed. These words are for (about) the ones who remain after that process has been completed.

Why is this important? 

I have presented a case for two distinct audiences whom Isaiah addresses or speaks about. One audience is the bulk, the majority, of the nation. The second audience is the remnant. The destruction of judgment is determined for the bulk. Repentance and cleansing are prophesied for the remnant. The alternative to this explanation is that the Lord does not mean what he says and does not say what he means.

The bulk of the text so far has described the great anger of the Lord against, as he says, “my people.” He makes statements such as the following:

Isaiah 2:20 For in that day a man shall cast forth his silver and gold abominations, which they made in order to worship vanities and bats; 21 to enter into the caverns of the solid rock, and into the clefts of the rocks, for fear of the Lord, and by reason of the glory of his might, when he shall arise to strike terribly the earth. LXE

Isaiah 3:25 And thy most beautiful son whom thou lovest shall fall by the sword; and your mighty men shall fall by the sword, and shall be brought low. 26 And the stores of your ornaments shall mourn, and thou shalt be left alone, and shalt be levelled with the ground.

Am I saying that if one of the wicked people with whom the Lord is so angry repents, that the Lord will not forgive them? No, of course not. But nowhere in the context of chapters 2:5 through 4:1 do we read of any of the wicked repenting. If they did, of course they would be saved. Where Isaiah 2:19-21 is quoted in the New Testament, Luke 23:30 and Revelation 6:16, repentance is also not a theme. Old Testament history bears out that in the period before the exile, the time period when Isaiah was writing, there was never a national repentance. The people were removed, the temple was destroyed, and the nation around Jerusalem flattened.

In Isaiah 4:2-6 then, as regards a national restoration, this will occur only insofar as the nation as a whole repents. How far into the future does this prophecy extend? After Isaiah wrote these words, Babylon did destroy the nation and remove its people. Afterwards, a post-exilic remnant returned, Zerubbabel rebuilt the temple, Herod rebuilt that temple, Jesus prophesied its destruction (Luke 23:28-31), Jesus died and rose again for the whole world, Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed in 70 A.D., and the Jewish people were brought back by the Allied powers after the war. Has the nation as a whole repented? Not yet. However, this glorious portion of Isaiah speaks to a repentant remnant. Whether that remnant will include the entire bulk of the current or a future nation remains to be seen. Whatever happens does not change the necessity of repentance.

If the reader does not hear Isaiah speaking alternately to two different audiences, they are left to think that God is saying in 4:2-6 and throughout Isaiah, Oh, it’s okay. I know I sound angry in these chapters, but don’t worry. Everything will turn out all right in the end. You don’t have to do anything. I will cleanse all your sins and everything will be wonderful in the end.

But that’s not what Isaiah teaches. He teaches that God will cleanse the nation by removing those who persistently disobey his commandments to do good, care for the poor, remain faithful in his worship, follow his law. Those people, the bulk, will be removed, and the ones who survive that process, because they repent and look to God, have a glorious future. They are the remnant God chooses to bless.

God is not “schizophrenic,” as in that word’s popular, metaphorical usage, as one who frequently and unpredictably changes. “Numbers 23:19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? (ESV)

Learning to spot the changes of audience in Isaiah helps enormously in understanding the singular pupose of God in this book.

__________

1 The Septuagint, which is the Old Greek and its more modern counterparts, was translated from a Hebrew textual tradition that was not the Masoretic. (Yes, way back in the olden days, way back, there was more than one Hebrew textual tradition.) Most of our modern English translations follow the Masoretic. However, much of the New Testament derives its quotations from an unknown version of the Septuagint, not the Masoretic tradition of Hebrew text.

Most likely because of its translation and transmission history, the Septuagint is uneven in places. I generally don’t use it as a stand-alone Bible, but then, I don’t use most translations that way. I have a personal compulsion to check several versions for matters of interest, regardless of what I am studying. In general, though, I prefer the Septuagint for most of the Psalter and for this portion of Isaiah, as well.

Long ago, as a young Christian, I began with the NASB as my devotional and study Bible. After I discovered Brenton’s translation of the Septuagint, I noticed that the NASB often “neutered” (my own description) phrases about Christ in the Psalms. It has a tendency to obscure Old Testament passages with reference to Christ, that is, in comparison to the Septuagint. Where the Septuagint points to a definite Person, the NASB often chooses an indefinite pronoun or abstract noun. These are such general observations as to be academically useless, but I am speaking from my personal, devotional point of view. The Septuagint does not shy away from presenting Christ in the Old Testament, whereas certain modern translations do. This is why I grew to love the Septuagint and to prefer translations that remain more faithful to the original text, such as the ESV, and in former days, the King James Bible.

 

%d bloggers like this: